Fracking: Weighing The Risks


Updated Thu, Jun 7, 2012 10:51 am

Airs Thursday, June 14 • 9 p.m.

Scientists say one of the world's vast reservoirs of natural gas lies in a huge area of land stretching from New York to West Virginia. It's called the Marcellus Shale Deposit. Energy companies say the most efficient existing method to free the gas beneath the surface is a technology called hydraulic fracturing -- also known as "fracking." Now, with billions of dollars of profit at stake, energy companies have descended on New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland in hope leasing as much private and state land as possible to extract millions of cubic feet of methane. Yet, no one knows what long-term environmental risks are posed by fracking -- from pollution of streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, to well water across rural communities. Environmental activists fear the practice of 'fracking" will bring heavy environmental degradation to drilling zones, as well as deforestation that could mean increased runoff into river and streams and the loss of wildlife habitat. Environmental hazards such as those seen in some drilling sites in Pennsylvania over the last few years have fueled a full-blown anti-fracking movement. Fracking: Weighing the Risks, explores the evolving story swirling around this controversial issue in interviews with scientists, energy industry representatives, landowners and environmentalists in an effort to look beyond the drama to uncover the actual risks from "fracking."

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